Aussie duo Lime Cordiale creates genre-bending pop music with strong doses of rock and soul, but the two brothers who make up the act are also good at stirring shit up. Louis and Oli Leimbach speak their minds and don't take too kindly to censorship, which became an issue when Lime Cordiale toured several U.S. universities recently. Oli recalls, "We got in trouble for singing 'Bullshit Aside,' [and] I don't know what the big deal is. Especially when Christian radio stations breathe bullshit full-time."
Lime Cordiale, ladies and gentlemen! We're guessing Sean Hannity's not a fan.
The Leimbach brothers, who grew up surfing Sydney's Northern Beaches, clearly speak out on issues in interviews and on their 2017 debut, Permanent Vacation, featuring tracks like "Temper Temper" and "Naturally." PRØHBTD spoke with Louis and Oli to learn more.
Permanent Vacation came out last fall. So far, what is the best description of the album that you've heard from another person?
Oli: Well, for us Australians, it came out in spring. So all the bloggers have millions of great adjectives: summery, beachy, sun-induced, etc. I love discovering how unrelated some reviewers can get. I’m not bitter about their mistakes—I find it entertaining and interesting. I love hearing people describing our music in the most abstract ways possible.
What song on the album provides the best example of the creative direction in which Lime Cordiale is moving?
Oli: We have a song on the album called “What Is Growing Up.” The album as a whole holds a strong refusal-to-grow-up message, but what we’re definitely not wanting to imply is that you should just not give a fuck about anything. Our songwriting for album number two seems to be promoting the carefree lifestyle and not giving in to the pressures of society, but we’re sick of seeing young people not getting involved or giving a shit. We all stand for something.
Tell me about the linocuts and hand-drawn designs.
Louis: Lino is pretty fresh to me. There are some serious master lino artists out there that really amaze me. I was fortunate enough to have one of those masters, Bruce Goold, living close to me when I picked up my first carving tools. He did a lot of work for the MAMBO collective when it originated and is very well recognized in the Australian art scene. He gave me some handy tips and guidance from his years of making beautiful works and has welcomed me into his studio to use his printing press. I still have lots to learn.
What has surfing taught you about music, spirituality and social bonds?
Louis: There’s a lot of waiting in surfing. Waiting for waves. It’s a nice break from the world. You can leave your phone—with emails and girlfriends—in the car and have a breather. When you’re out there solo, melodies and ideas are constantly going through your head. Sometimes you can’t get a shitty TV commercial jingle out of your head, and it stays on loop for the whole surf, but I’ve often run up the beach to my car and recorded a melody or a beat into my phone. But it’s a good time to clear your head and relax. A brilliant way to start the day.
You took part in the March for our Lives. How would you describe the experience and what motivated you to take part?
Oli: With all the touring and traveling, we completely forgot what day it was. We were driving down to Pike Place Market when we suddenly heard the crowds of people shouting. We quickly parked the car and ran to join the march. It would’ve been pretty hard to miss the whole thing. The march was huge, and the vibe put a massive smile on our faces. Every now and then a roar of yelling would pass through the march like a Mexican wave. It really gave us the shivers. After so much negativity on the news, the march showed us how many brilliant people are keen to put an end to this madness.
What can America learn—good or bad—from Australia's experience with gun control legislation?
Oli: Mate, you can’t say that throwing our guns in the bin didn’t work. I don’t know anyone that owns a gun. Guns just aren’t a part of our lives, and no one seems to be missing them. I guess one of the positives is that babies aren’t killing themselves! We grew up with potato and cap guns, and they were—and still are—a good old laugh. You don’t need guns just like you don’t need that last after-dinner mint.
Your social media suggests you are very active on social issues. For example, you retweeted a video by Paul McCartney on the environment and you encouraged people to vote for gay marriage on Instagram. What experiences or ideas shape your activism and worldview?
Oli: We have parents who have always been very active. They’ve always taught us to say what we think and give someone the finger if you feel like it. We started the band with the aim of gaining an audience to then send a message. I think we have steered away from our original goal, and now that we’ve realized that, we’re feeling a push towards becoming much more political.
A big issue in the U.S. is cannabis, and Victorian members of parliament might help bring legalization to Australia, or at least to a few states. Is cannabis prohibition an important social issue for you, and how do you think voters in Australia can help affect change?
Oli: I’m surprised that cannabis hasn’t been legalized in Australia. As laid back and carefree as Australians may seem, our government is pretty backwards. The Australian parliament seems to be jumping on the Lame Train to the right, along with the U.S. and U.K. at the moment. They’ve recently killed the nightlife of Sydney with a curfew, and it seems to make sense for them to keep people at ease on their couch with a joint. People on the streets of Sydney rallying against the "lock-out laws" are doing a good thing. Gay marriage has finally been recognized. It’s only a matter of time before marijuana becomes legal, too. A few friends of mine have their labs set up, ready to make the big bucks.
You are both vegetarians. What is your go-to snack when driving between cities on tour?
Oli: This time round in the U.S., we’ve really got into the truck-stop sunflower seeds. They’re not so much a snack as a fight for survival. With all the effort that goes into breaking open these salty nut-teasers, you get very little edible gain. But they’re addictive. So damn salty.
What is the most underrated dish that vegetarians should all try?
Louis: We’ve come across a lot of people that can’t cook. One word: soup. Shove as many vegetables, herbs and spices into a boiling pot of water and you can rarely go wrong. Then blend it up at the end, or don’t.
On the next level up, you’ve got pho, laksa, ramen… most of the time they all have brilliant veggie options.
David Jenison (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Editor-in-Chief at PRØHBTD.